A really obscure forgotten audio format: “Talking rubber”

There are several things going on here: first, what is the “talking rubber” technology? After talking to several historians of science and technology, I’m pretty sure it’s not a term that ever caught on. But it turns out that’s because this actual technology never caught on; although on first glance, this ad seems to describe magnetic tape—the technology behind cassette and VHS tapes—“talking rubber” describes actual rubber, not tape! In 1952, The Bell System Technical Journal chronicled “a magnetic recording medium composed of rubber impregnated with magnetic oxide and lubricant,” that was “particularly suited to applications requiring the continuous repetition of short transcribed messages.”
From A really obscure forgotten audio format: “Talking rubber” | Ars Technica
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STL Public Library hit by ransomware attack

Jen Hatton, PR manager for the library system, says a hacker organization has blocked their server and is demanding tens of thousands of dollars to release their computers back to them. The attack has affected all 700 computers at 16 library branches. No library visitors can currently use the computers until the problem is solved. The library's technology staff is working with the FBI.
From STL Public Library hit by ransomware attack | KSDK.com
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In a glitzy era for libraries, core mission shows signs of decline

In an era of extensive building and remodeling, the state Department of Education reports drops in the number of visits, registered users and loans of material. 
From In a glitzy era for libraries, core mission shows signs of decline - StarTribune.com
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How a computer sees history after "reading" 35 million news stories

"What cannot be automated is the understanding of the implications of these findings for people," said Dr. Tom Lansdall-Welfare, who led the computational part of the study. "That will always be the realm of the humanities and social sciences, and never that of machines."
From How a computer sees history after "reading" 35 million news stories
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SF Public Library’s quest to put diversity on shelves - SFGate

But here’s the thing: The characters will probably be white. Despite a push by book lovers for more ethnic diversity in published books, library shelves have remained largely uniform, with white authors penning tales about white people, statistics show. Those books fail to reflect the rich diversity of San Francisco, and point to a persistent problem across the country, librarians say.
From SF Public Library’s quest to put diversity on shelves - SFGate
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Gates Foundation research can’t be published in top journals

The bar is a result of the Gates Foundation’s policy in support of open access and open data, which was first announced in 2014 but came into force at the beginning of 2017. “Personally, I applaud the Gates Foundation for taking this stance,” says Simon Hay, a Gates-funded researcher who is director of geospatial science at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in Seattle, Washington. “The overwhelming majority of my colleagues in global health and fellow Gates grantees with whom I have chatted are highly supportive of these developments,” he says.
From Gates Foundation research can’t be published in top journals : Nature News & Comment
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What book has been most meaningful to you?

Author Will Schwalbe say down with Jeff Brown to talk meaningful books. What book has been most meaningful to you?

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Rumors of the Demise of Books Greatly Exaggerated | Gallup

Despite the abundance of digital diversions vying for their time and attention, most Americans are still reading books. In fact, they are consuming books at nearly the same rate that they were when Gallup last asked this question in 2002 -- before smartphones, Facebook or Twitter became ubiquitous. More than one in three (35%) appear to be heavy readers, reading 11 or more books in the past year, while close to half (48%) read between one and 10 and just 16% read none.
From Rumors of the Demise of Books Greatly Exaggerated | Gallup
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Petition to Save the Rose Reading Room of the NYPL

The Committee to Save NYPL is petitioning the Landmarks Preservation Commission to officially designate the Rose Reading Room and other public spaces in the 42nd Street Library as interior landmarks. We need your help!

Please sign this petition and share it with your friends, family, and colleagues.

Preservationists had formally requested these spaces be designated years ago, but their demands were ignored by the city agency charged with protecting our cultural and architectural heritage. With the recent calendaring of the Ambassador Grill and the Waldorf Astoria interiors, we are optimistic that LPC will finally ensure that these cherished rooms will be preserved for posterity.

R. Michael Brown once remarked that the “story of our lives is written in interiors.” There can be no doubt that few New York City interiors have transformed as many lives as those in the 42nd Street Library. They deserve landmark protection.

If You Discover Something in an Archive, It's Not Really a Discovery

From the Atlantic an article about how new "discoveries" in archives, including the National Archives, are not really discoveries at all.

Better Late Than Never

Seattle affiliate KOMONews reports that a book was returned forty years late, but with a note of apology. Here's the note:

""Sorry, I just cleaned (started emptying) my bedroom closet. It was in a box."" The book was about rattlesnakes.

There's a New Congress in Town

...and a new POTUS on the horizon.

If you want to keep current with what legislation each house is considering, don't forget the wonderful resource, the Library of Congress which will report what is taking place sans spin (unlike Breitbard, Fox, National Review, etc.).

Here's a particularly interesting bill in process, S. 65: A bill to address financial conflicts of interest of the President and Vice President. Sponsor: Sen. Warren, Elizabeth [D-MA] (Introduced 01/09/2017) Cosponsors: (23) Committees: Senate - Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Latest Action: 01/09/2017 Read twice and referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. (All Actions)

For assistance with your research from a Law Library of Congress reference specialist, ask a Law Librarian.

Bucket-brigade of books marks opening of new library

Students, faculty and administrators lined the streets surrounding Ringling College in Sarasota Monday morning, forming a human chain to pass the final 200 books from Kimbrough Library into the college’s newly opened building up the block. The ceremonial “Passing of the Books” celebrated the opening of the Alfred R. Goldstein Ringling College Library, an $18 million structure that dwarfs its predecessor.
From Bucket-brigade of books marks opening of new library at Ringling | Bradenton Herald
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Memory of Mankind: All of Human Knowledge Buried in a Salt Mine

In Hallstatt, Austria, a picturesque village nestled into a lake-peppered region called Salzkammergut, Kunze has spent the past four years engraving images and text onto hand-sized clay squares. A ceramicist by trade, he believes the durability of the materials he plies gives them an as-yet unmatched ability to store information. Ceramic is impervious to water, chemicals, and radiation; it’s emboldened by fire. Tablets of Sumerian cuneiform are still around today that date from earlier than 3000 B.C.E. “The only thing that can threaten this kind of data carrier is a hammer,” Kunze says.
From Memory of Mankind: All of Human Knowledge Buried in a Salt Mine - The Atlantic

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Hacker cripples Hardin County Schools library system, demands ransom

“If we can’t, we’re going to have to rebuild the system from scratch. We won’t have to go back and re-scan every single book in the system because we have some listed on other files, so we won’t have to start from zero – but we won’t be starting far from zero either,” he said. In a complication, Edwards said school IT workers were backing up the library server files to an external hard drive when the  attack occurred. This resulted in the back-up also being corrupted. Regarding thwarting potential future hacking attempts, Edwards said, “We’ve had several conversations about really looking into where any and all of our vulnerabilities are at. This really makes you reevaluate computer security – it’s been an eye-opener.”  
From Hacker cripples Hardin County Schools library system, demands ransom
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How ‘Sherlock of the library’ cracked the case of Shakespeare’s identity

Wolfe is an accidental sleuth. Her scholar’s passion is as much for old manuscripts as for the obscurities surrounding our national poet. Project Dustbunny, for example, one of her initiatives at the Folger Shakespeare Library, has made some extraordinary discoveries based on microscopic fragments of hair and skin accumulated in the crevices and gutters of 17th-century books.
From How ‘Sherlock of the library’ cracked the case of Shakespeare’s identity | Culture | The Guardian
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Cliff Stoll discusses the Internet 20 years ago

What did he get right? What did he get wrong?

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A look at the Utah State Prison's banned-books list

Prison spokeswoman Maria Peterson said those details were lost in the shuffle when a new executive director started shortly after the ban was instituted; other leaders also retired and were replaced about the same time. "All of the people who were here, are no longer," she said. The ban was categorized as a security measure, accompanied by a brief explanation. Prison officials feared the books, Jensen said, could show inmates "how to control people, how to get people to do exactly what you want them to do."
From 'What is it about these two books that is so dangerous?': A look at the Utah State Prison's banned-books list | The Salt Lake Tribune
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Issaquah bookbinder among handful at libraries nationwide still operating a ‘mendery’

Donald Vass, who has spent the past 26 years mending and tending to books for the King County Library System, has seen mechanical and human-inflicted damage and more. At 57 and with not many years left before retirement, he says he believes he will be the last full-time traditional bookbinder ever to take up shears, brushes and needles here. The skills take too long to learn, he said, and no one is being groomed to take his place in “the mendery,” Room 111 at the library’s central service center, where not so many years ago, 10 people worked.
From Issaquah bookbinder among handful at libraries nationwide still operating a ‘mendery’ | The Seattle Times
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Poet: I can’t answer questions on Texas standardized tests about my own poems

Badly worded or poorly conceived questions on standardized tests are not uncommon (remember the question about a “talking pineapple” on a New York test in 2012?). But here’s something new: The author of source material on two Texas standardized tests says she can’t actually answer the questions about her own work because they are so poorly conceived. She also says she can’t understand why at least one of her poems — which she calls her “most neurotic” — was included on a standardized test for students.
From Poet: I can’t answer questions on Texas standardized tests about my own poems - The Washington Post
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